Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(LEAD) Court confirms revocation of progressive teachers' union's legal status

All News 18:31 January 21, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with reaction from KTU in para 5; ADDS more details in para 8)

SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- An appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court's ruling that a progressive teachers' union is not a legitimate labor group because its members include fired teachers.

In October 2013, the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU) filed a lawsuit with the Seoul Administrative Court against a government's decision to outlaw the KTU due to the union's repeated refusal to deny membership to nine fired teachers.

Under the law, dismissed teachers are not eligible to join a trade union.

The Seoul High Court said the government's decision was legitimate based on the law.

Byun Seong-ho, the head of the union, said the union will decide on specific matters after reviewing the sentencing and is thinking of appealing the ruling.

"The member requirement is a matter the union should decide on its own and acknowledging the fired workers as members is an international standard," Byun said in a press conference in front of the courthouse after the decision was delivered.

The ruling, if upheld by the Supreme Court, would ban the KTU from using the title "labor union" and engaging in legitimate negotiations with school authorities. The union's full-time staff members should also return to teaching jobs at schools.

Founded in 1998, the progressive teachers' union became a legitimate organization the following year under the liberal government led by President Kim Dae-jung.

It is the country's largest teachers' union with some 53,000 members as of 2014, according to the labor ministry.


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!